Tag Archives: museum Termas-da-Azenha

Finally! The mosaics in our holiday village are ready

The mosaics in our little holiday village tend to get out of hand

Why? The first phase of the entree of the bathhouse is finally ready. Four mosaics together – as a representation of what’s waiting for you in the rest of the village.

blog_finally-

It started in October, and now two huge mosaics are finally ready

I had help of some experienced friends. That’s nice, because mosaic-making is something to be patient about, because it’s always a lot of work. Even though you’d already realized that it’s more work than you think, it’s still more work than you think.

Of course it’s not a day in, day out job. You don’t work on it for 8 hours straight every day. There are lots of other things to do (welcoming guests, for instance, cleaning here & there, sewing a kimono – to name some) but all in all I guess about half of this time is in there.

But words fail to express what you see. So let’s skip the rest of the story, and go directly to the pics. I proudly present to you – the making of “The Pond” and “A colourful sunset at the ocean”:

blog_finally-the-mosaics-in-our-holiday-village-are-ready

Searching for the right composition, the colours, the size of the pieces – sometimes it’s decisionmakingstress, but mostly it’s lovely to sit in the sun and puzzle.

blog_finally-the-mosaics-in-our-holiday-village-are-ready

.

Now it’s really nice to have help because this board is too big to turn around by myself.

blog_finally-the-mosaics-in-our-holiday-village-are-readyChecking if everything is okay before the most exciting part of this process.blog_finally-the-mosaics-in-our-holiday-village-are-ready.

… but I can glue it to the wall by myself.

blog_finally-the-mosaics-in-our-holiday-village-are-readyAnd now the sticky job begins ….

blog_finally-the-mosaics-in-our-holiday-village-are-ready… and goes on for ever …. in the most inelegant and uncomfortable positions imaginable. It takes time, and during that time you can make new plans. For another mosaic, for example. Like I did. My friend Astrid thought it was an excellent idea.

blog_finally-the-mosaics-in-our-holiday-village-are-ready

She’s a kindred spirit in this, unfortunately with a demanding job, so from time to time only a week of mosaicing. But in that week you can create half the sea … 

We’re skipping some steps; the part of the air was glueing piece by piece on the spot. So yeah, how interesting is that? We’re happy with the result though.

blog_finally-the-mosaics-in-our-holiday-village-are-ready

The other delightful discovery was the wood. When a tree is sawn into planks, they throw away the first and the last one because one side is round. I love them! With a little bit of sanding and painting, you get great wallpaper. Wallpaper in raw form … 

blblog_finally-the-mosaics-in-our-holiday-village-are-ready

Best thing? It’s nice weather as well! 

Well, come and have a look for yourself! We’re open from the 1st of March till the 31st of October.

.

<< previous

We moved here in 2000 from Rotterdam, Holland to the Termas-da-Azenha, Portugal. A big step, especially with two small children. We are busy to rebuild one of portugals cultural heirlooms: Termas-da-Azenha, an old spa which has been turned into several holiday homes, rooms and campsites, with a https://www.termas-da-azenha.com/en/recreation/: swimming pool, indoor and outdoor games like pingpong, petanque, a FancyDressingRoom and a small café. You’ll find mosaics and paintings everywhere.

The old bathhouse is going to be a museum, where you can see how things have changed. Since 2018 we call ourselves the first B&B&B in the world – Bed & Breakfast & Bathrobes. You can buy a home-made unique bathrobe/housecoat with us.

Each week a little blog about what is happening around us. An easy read. A few minutes in another world. A little about what it going on in Portugal. If you plan your holiday to Portugal, it might be a nice preparation. We have some nice special offers on our site.

You can subscribe to this blog:

You’ll get it every weekend in your mailbox.

On Sunday morning we publish it on our Facebook, on Pinterest, and on monday on LinkedIn.

Typical snowbirds

“I can’t help you with this,” Myrjam says apologetically, holding her arm up to show. “I am stuck with this, I have to undergo surgery.”   “Don’t feel guilty,” I answer, “you can’t push a wheelbarrow with two people.”    That is actually a shame that that is not possible, because I have been far too enthusiastic about loading boxes of tiles.

“It may well be that it all goes back to the tile workshop again!”   I say reassuringly to Wil, who watches with big eyes when she sees me coming. “It’s just a try, see.”

Wil and Myrjam are here for two days now. After spending their first day with the in-laws of Wil’s son, who lives in Coimbra, they want to make a mosaic in the sunshine.

Wil comes here for the umpteenth time, and is not a typical snowbird

She gave a painting course here at the beginning of last year, and is developing more and more like an CMM. That means: a Collegue Mosaic Maker. There’s a very small select group who regularly come to help with a mosaic – often for a week, often in the winter.

Myrjam also wants to try it. No problem. For a teacher, this new technique will not be difficult to master, even if you have been retired for years.

blog_typical-snowbirds

There are other people who come by regularly, no snowbirds, all though often in the winter, but not for mosaics!

Henk is one of them. He suddenly stood – surprise! – in front of me: “Hello, hello! Is there someone here? ”- and there he was in front of the counter. “Do you have anything to do? I thought I stayed here for a week … ”

Haha! Everyone who knows me would fall over in amazement if I said no. There is always something to do here, and certainly for a Handy Harry like Henk.

Henk is a typical snowbird… well … typical …

After a week, Marriet joined him. They travel together, each in their own, in my eyes very impressive, mobile home. Marriet had to go back to the Netherlands for an emergency, but is now back on track. Both Henk and Marriet live in their motor home. Everythin’s sold, the rest removed, and now they travel through Europe in their cabin-with-wheels. They got to know each other in the Netherlands, on the camperplace where they’re regularly for a longer period of time.

They get along very well. You can see that:

blog_typical-snowbirdsblog_typical-snowbirds

blog_typical-snowbirds

This photo is meant as a greeting for another couple of motor home owners, who they’ll meet again in the south of Portugal in a while. If you can take such a picture together, then you can get along well, or what? What surprised me is that you still have two of those fantastic wigs in your camper.

I can’t copy that, with my village full of stuff and things. Respect.

They have done beautiful things, these snowbirds. And it was also a very pleasant conversation, every night at dinner!

.

<< previous

We moved here in 2000 from Rotterdam, Holland to the Termas-da-Azenha, Portugal. A big step, especially with two small children. We are busy to rebuild one of portugals cultural heirlooms: Termas-da-Azenha, an old spa which has been turned into several holiday homes, rooms and campsites, with a https://www.termas-da-azenha.com/en/recreation/: swimming pool, indoor and outdoor games like pingpong, petanque, a FancyDressingRoom and a small café. You’ll find mosaics and paintings everywhere.

The old bathhouse is going to be a museum, where you can see how things have changed. Since 2018 we call ourselves the first B&B&B in the world – Bed & Breakfast & Bathrobes. You can buy a home-made unique bathrobe/housecoat with us.

Each week a little blog about what is happening around us. An easy read. A few minutes in another world. A little about what it going on in Portugal. If you plan your holiday to Portugal, it might be a nice preparation. We have some nice special offers on our site.

You can subscribe to this blog:

You’ll get it every weekend in your mailbox.

On Sunday morning we publish it on our Facebook, on Pinterest, and on monday on LinkedIn.

B & B with flowering vegetable garden

 We had an unexpectedly visitor (happens a lot, especially for the B & B part): a single lady who liked to do something with her hands. “You know, all good and well, being free and able to do whatever you want, but I like to do something – in the garden for example. I love gardening.

Sandra was sent from heaven, I suspect.

There were plans for a small expansion of the vegetable garden …

… and we would do that in September. Perhaps you know it, dear reader, that time that flies and so on …  and that they only put 24 hours in a day, of which at least half you don’t want to do anything or sleep. So it was a bit later, but not bad because the temperatures are still on the high side.

blog_holiday-rentals-with-vegetable-garden

13 – 16º is not bad, especially when there’s no wind. And most of the time sunny

The plants think this is great, at least! After Sandra’s visit – who made quite a few meters with pulling out weeds and grass, and made a nice area cultivable – the transplanted physalis is radiant, the celery babies grow up healthy, and the lettuce plants make leaf after leaf after leaf.

We even discovered a bed of spontaneously grown spinach among the weeds!

Everything grows and blooms in winter. The salsa plants (salsa = parsley) have formed a conspiracy, and have plans to take over the herb garden, but the curly parsley and the chives resist in a non-violent way. The sage stands separately, protected in an open greenhouse, because sage only wants heat and preferably a little sandy or rocky.

We can’t offer her that – the soil is heavy clay, and you can’t call it hot at the moment. Yet it bravely stands, next to the peppermint (who’s miserable) and the coentros from the supermarket. Coentros is coriander – very tasty to enrich your salad!

Sandra thought that was a filthy idea (people like coriander or they hate it, there’s no middle apparently) and would rather stick to the arugula

“Look, that big one, that’s arugula-A,” she points out, “those little leaves are also arugula, tastes a little different, but I’d rather use that big one.” She looks at me with a generous bunch of arugula-A in her hand. “It’s quicker”, she adds with a naughty smile.

“I love it”, I say, “a day without arugula is a day not lived!”

The beauty of all these plants is that they maintain themselves and sow themselves out to everywhere. The only challenge that remains now is the wind. Termas-da-Azenha is that far from the coast, so you often have a western wind. And plants survive a lot, but most of them don’t like wind.

Me neither, but what do you do about it?

That led to a lot of (strange) ideas about protecting a vegetable garden

Broes and I – Broes is the instigator of all this; it was his idea, the expansion of the vegetable garden – eventually came up with posts with sheep’s wire and plastic. Wire to make it sturdy, but of course you can’t leave it at that, because the wind just blows through it. (just joking)

You can nicely grow your peas, tomatoes and beans on the wire. And then plastic to make it windproof.

Nice plan. Now the execution … a lot of time was spent collecting courage because it’s quite a job, digging all those holes and hammering those piles into the ground.

And it was not windy at all. So yes, the need to do something about it is nil. Suddenly the ultimate Golden Idea came down: why don’t we use the remaining straw bales?*

Aha! What a great plan. That’s a win-win-win – maybe even another win!

The straw bales are used, the wind is stopped, that stuff decays and is food for the plants, and (yes, another win!) it’s mulch. Mulch is finely chopped garden waste, leaves, coarse sawdust, or straw so that you scatter among the plants, so that weeds are discouraged. (STRAWberries, right?) And snails. And caterpillars.

And now with that chicken … if you come to eat next summer, you will probably get everything freshly laid and organically grown! We can call that an extra attraction, right?

 

Ik-vertrek-van-A-tot-Z

 

……….* The straw bales are left over from the donkeys. Once a year we bought a huge pile, but then the …………last donkey died a year ago in October. So there still is a pyramid of straw.

.

<< previous

We moved here in 2000 from Rotterdam, Holland to the Termas-da-Azenha, Portugal. A big step, especially with two small children. We are busy to rebuild one of portugals cultural heirlooms: Termas-da-Azenha, an old spa which has been turned into several holiday homes, rooms and campsites, with a https://www.termas-da-azenha.com/en/recreation/: swimming pool, indoor and outdoor games like pingpong, petanque, a FancyDressingRoom and a small café. You’ll find mosaics and paintings everywhere.

The old bathhouse is going to be a museum, where you can see how things have changed. Since 2018 we call ourselves the first B&B&B in the world – Bed & Breakfast & Bathrobes. You can buy a home-made unique bathrobe/housecoat with us.

Each week a little blog about what is happening around us. An easy read. A few minutes in another world. A little about what it going on in Portugal. If you plan your holiday to Portugal, it might be a nice preparation. We have some nice special offers on our site.

You can subscribe to this blog:

You’ll get it every weekend in your mailbox.

On Sunday morning we publish it on our Facebook, on Pinterest, and on monday on LinkedIn.

Expectations for 2020, with special offer

You have to admit, it’s a nice number. I don’t know if I’m the only one who is (always) pleasantly surprised when I look at the clock and it’s 11:11, if the Bitcoin is at 9,999.99, or if I have to pay 33.33 in the supermarket?

Surprised by numbers.

I don’t think I’m the only one, because a lot of people married on 8.8.’88 and will probably do so again on 02.02.2020. And in honor of this fun number year, we offer you something special (but then you have to read through to the end!)

Go on reading, we not only have a motto but also a special offer for 2020!

Usually a year gets a name afterwards. To name some, we have “The Golden Summer”, the “Crisis Year” (2013 of course, I have to mention it) and the last one is called The calm summer that ended grand. Now 2020 doesn’t have a name already, but a motto – and it will have to live up to it:

“The quiet miracle of a normal life”

It seems that Bill Clinton once said that, indicating that he has more wisdom than you might think.

A normal life is not spectacular, not sizzlingsparklingcool, no reason for excited stories, but it is indeed a miracle. I hope it gives rise to such a scenario:

<< “Girl, helló! How do YOU do! Getting used to the regime again, isn’t it, awful don’t you think, the first day of school!”

Elizabeth looks up. She already recognized the voice with the golden edge. Well, it part of the deal. You just have to do it again. As always. Small talk with the other parents when you’re going to pick up your children. That’s a part of it.

“Hi, hello Francisca”, she replies softly, disturbed in her dreamy flow.

“Have you had a great summer too, like we did?” Francisca asks almost hysterically-happy but luckily restrained.

Elizabeth just nods. They only came home yesterday, they didn’t want to go home. Unanimous, all four of them. They wanted to stay in dreamland. Portugal. Forever. But well … life … but it’s still completely there, that peace, the relaxation, the cosiness.

blog_expectations-for-2020-with-special-offer

“We have been to Italy, we’ve explored the whole country!” Francisca shouts, but fortunately in a civilized way, “we even arranged that we were allowed to go into a closed palazzo in Venice! I had some favors to ask in return … relationships that you can play … through the Ministry!”

She laughs smugly.

“Ah! There they are. Well, have to run! Nice to talk to you again, Elizabeth, we’ll make an appointment for a dinner party with us, okay? Come on guys, I’ve parked at a rotten spot – oops sorry, one for the swear jar! Come on, get moving, you hockey, and you drawing lessons, we only have half an hour to get through the city.”

Elizabeth turns to her daughter who walks toward her. She also has a dreamy look in her eyes, she thinks. Bollocks, Venice! (“Oops! Sorry! One for the swear jar!”) All of Italy – goodness, you get tired when you think about it.

While we … gosh, what have we done again? Oh yes, the climbing park on that beautiful spot in the dunes …. played with those beautiful green waves on the beach … and the water was wonderful … not cold at all. Sitting by the house … hanging in the hammock … nice with a book … even Sam has read a book! The children had such a great time together … That plank over the ditch at the end of the garden was a golden find … catching lobsters, studying fish … Diving into the pool to cool off … Nice neighbors, great evening that was We made a beauty of a mosaic, grandma loved it! Gosh, what have we done, actually?

blog_expectations-for-2020-with-special-offer

Nothing special, but it was relaxing. That’s it. Relaxing. And that’s not so easy with a restless 10-year-old boy and a 12-year-old adolescent girl!

The canoe trip was great … the restaurant in Coimbra on that lovely little square … it was just like we were back in time … the ride back to the house, without a wrong word … another glass in the moonlight , the kids already in bed … and the moonlit night after that when we again …. nice bed though … comfortable …

Gosh, nothing special really, but it was the best vacation ever. >>

In short, it is our good intention to infect all of you, future guests, with the “Quiet Miracle Virus”

How good you feel with that. How cozy that it is. How much anti-stress that yields. (You’re no longer in a hurry to achieve something. You’re already there.)

And how ab-so-lu-te-ly not spectacular that is, but instead perfectly normal.

 

 

The special offer for 2020 is: if you make a reservation before the 20th of the 2nd month, you will receive a 20% discount. This also applies to the May and summer holidays! Refer to this blog, if you send an email (info@termas-da-azenha.com), we will honor that immediately (if we have availability of course).

.

<< previous

We moved here in 2000 from Rotterdam, Holland to the Termas-da-Azenha, Portugal. A big step, especially with two small children. We are busy to rebuild one of portugals cultural heirlooms: Termas-da-Azenha, an old spa which has been turned into several holiday homes, rooms and campsites, with a https://www.termas-da-azenha.com/en/recreation/: swimming pool, indoor and outdoor games like pingpong, petanque, a FancyDressingRoom and a small café. You’ll find mosaics and paintings everywhere.

The old bathhouse is going to be a museum, where you can see how things have changed. Since 2018 we call ourselves the first B&B&B in the world – Bed & Breakfast & Bathrobes. You can buy a home-made unique bathrobe/housecoat with us.

Each week a little blog about what is happening around us. An easy read. A few minutes in another world. A little about what it going on in Portugal. If you plan your holiday to Portugal, it might be a nice preparation. We have some nice special offers on our site.

You can subscribe to this blog:

You’ll get it every weekend in your mailbox.

On Sunday morning we publish it on our Facebook, on Pinterest, and on monday on LinkedIn.

Kind of fired up

My hands itch, figuratively speaking: there’s a kimono waiting to be sewn, a blog to be written, a video to be recorded, Christmas presents to be wrapped; the new mosaic wants to be finished; the grass could be mowed with this nice weather … but you need your hands for all those activities!

And my hands burn like hell

Hey, don’t laugh! I mean this literally. On Monday, I woke up in the middle of the night with a fire burning in my hands. With the feeling: I can keep scratching to the bone. What’s happening?

This is clearly a different feeling than when my stigmata are itchy.

I always joke about that.

When it starts raining, the spot right in the middle of especially my left palm will itch

Not a terrible feeling, you just notice. “My stigmata are itching, it’s going to rain!” I would declare, and usually get a skeptical hum back. (but it’ll rain, always!)

I also often declare that we’re poorly endowed with only 2 hands, because while doing a job you could often use a few extra. “Just manipulate two more arms in your genescheme, how hard can it be,” I sigh with a few screws between my teeth, struggling to hold something in place, and trying to get the heavy-duty drill with one hand above your head on the right place.

Just to name something. Holding three pieces of fabric together and getting them neatly under the machine without the pins coming under the foot is not so heavy, but just as challenging.

This was different. As if they were on fire, inside

Nothing was visible on the outside. Very strange. There I was, in the middle of the night, with my hands in Termas water, because our water is healing with skin problems.

It seemed appropriate, and moreover it brought relief.

blog_kind-of-fired-up

I would have preferred to cut them off and put them in the freezer, but that is an irreversible process, so not a good idea.

Digging through the ointment file didn’t yield much either, because we’re simply incurably healthy, so we don’t need a lot of medicine. I found a not too old ointment against bacteria. “These are probably bacteria,” I muttered to myself, “but where do they come from?”

Anyway, long story short: everything remained as it was. No mowing, no wrapping, no sewing, no glueing, no nothing

Even though you work with your head, your hands are still very useful body parts! May be it sounds good: I’m all fired up – when you’re typing with burning hands, you won’t last very long. And itching makes you go crazy!

Moreover, I didn’t know where it came from.

Think deeply. It could be the detergent. I recently bought a different brand, with ylang-ylang, a scent that I really like (but unfortunately is overly artificial in a detergent. Too bad. Bad purchase). Furthermore, I hadn’t been in contact with dangerous substances, had done anything exceptional with sharp things, had never suffered from eczema-like ailments … what on earth is this?

If you spend half a day with your hands in a bowl of water, you do have time to think

Suddenly it came to my mind. The new chickens! I had bought 3 chickens on Sunday morning on the market in Louriçal, as company for my little favorite Carolina. Chickens may have nasty bacteria with them, I vaguely remembered. Of course I touched them when I got them out of the box into the chicken cot.

blog_kind-of-fired-up

At the time of writing, my hands are happy as a clam again. Or … fit as a fiddle …

Anyway, you know what I mean. Don’t you?

.

<< previous

We moved here in 2000 from Rotterdam, Holland to the Termas-da-Azenha, Portugal. A big step, especially with two small children. We are busy to rebuild one of portugals cultural heirlooms: Termas-da-Azenha, an old spa which has been turned into several holiday homes, rooms and campsites, with a https://www.termas-da-azenha.com/en/recreation/: swimming pool, indoor and outdoor games like pingpong, petanque, a FancyDressingRoom and a small café. You’ll find mosaics and paintings everywhere.

The old bathhouse is going to be a museum, where you can see how things have changed. Since 2018 we call ourselves the first B&B&B in the world – Bed & Breakfast & Bathrobes. You can buy a home-made unique bathrobe/housecoat with us.

Each week a little blog about what is happening around us. An easy read. A few minutes in another world. A little about what it going on in Portugal. If you plan your holiday to Portugal, it might be a nice preparation. We have some nice special offers on our site.

You can subscribe to this blog:

You’ll get it every weekend in your mailbox.

On Sunday morning we publish it on our Facebook, on Pinterest, and on monday on LinkedIn.

Spilling the beans: we’re full of them

“Nah … às vezes, mas obrigado”,  Hugo replies when I ask him if he ever eats tremoços. I bought some for the photo but I don’t eat them. I find them a bit bland but they’re still very popular everywhere.

Hugo, all though portuguese, is too young to appreciate the tremoços. His father would know, and his grandparents for sure. In their time, this bean was a hugely popular snack in Portugal – in the whole of southern Europe, by the way. Spain and Italy also know it, and then as “altramuces” or “lupini”.

The last word shows the roots of this bean – lupini

And the photo below shows the plant. Isn’t that nice? Such brilliant colors, a beautiful classy flower, and then it also grows an edible bean? Wow, nature is brilliant and generous!

blog_spilling-the-beans-were-full-of-them

these are the non-edible ones!

Anyone who has ever come across a lupine bean – in a large salt-water container in a rural Spanish supermarket, or in a little bowl in an old-fashioned pub in Portugal – knows that they stay fairly hard and the peels tough and bitter. You can easily grow them yourself in your vegetable garden. They’re also green fertilizers.*

But you better not confuse them with others if you pick those beans!

(In fact, you need to know what species you’re picking, because some are toxic. They contain bitter alkaloids that leave an extremely unpleasant taste in the mouth and can even affect the central nervous system.)

blog_spilling-the-beans-were-full-of-them

Now you shouldn’t eat the peel

Here in Portugal those beans are still popular. With a handy movement you pop the bean out of the peel in your mouth. Peel in the bowl, and if it is very cozy, there are a lot of peels around it.

It’s getting a little less popular because of course the new generation doesn’t want to do the things their grandparents did. They went to the café to drink an água-pé** and ate a bowl of tremoços.

Literally translated that’s foot water** and lupine beans

We have tried to free ourselves from beans throughout the history of the world. In poor countries it’s still: rice with beans or beans with rice. Eating beans, that is / was the proof of poverty. Anyone who could afford it a little bit more immediately traded in the beans for meat to provide for their protein needs.

That was progress! From beans to a large piece of meat on your plate

Now we’re so overly saturated with those large pieces of meat that going back to the beans seems our only salvation. In fact, the best bean to turn our destiny (yes, it’s about climate change!) around is perhaps the most stubborn, obstinate, marginal one in the bean family.

So the lupine. Tremoços. Altramuces. Fagioli lupini

blog_spilling-the-beans-we-re-full-of-them

 

We have a little bag for sowing in early spring (about the end of February). It seemed a no-brainer, because butterflies, bees and bumble bees (such cute animals!) like those flowers very much. Perfect. Perhaps we will get some beans from it. And perhaps we will do something with them.

Bean burgers perhaps. “Fagioli lupini da Casa Termal”. Sounds good right?

(Or if we pick the wrong one: “Fagioli lupini Terminal”.)

We shall see with those lupini.

~

* Green manure crops are crops that are sown outside of the season and enrich the soil with all sorts of substances (depending on which you choose of course ) so that you don’t need to use as much fertilizer.

** Foot water – água pé – is the young wine, just ready to drink.

.

<< previous

We moved here in 2000 from Rotterdam, Holland to the Termas-da-Azenha, Portugal. A big step, especially with two small children. We are busy to rebuild one of portugals cultural heirlooms: Termas-da-Azenha, an old spa which has been turned into several holiday homes, rooms and campsites, with a https://www.termas-da-azenha.com/en/recreation/: swimming pool, indoor and outdoor games like pingpong, petanque, a FancyDressingRoom and a small café. You’ll find mosaics and paintings everywhere.

The old bathhouse is going to be a museum, where you can see how things have changed. Since 2018 we call ourselves the first B&B&B in the world – Bed & Breakfast & Bathrobes. You can buy a home-made unique bathrobe/housecoat with us.

Each week a little blog about what is happening around us. An easy read. A few minutes in another world. A little about what it going on in Portugal. If you plan your holiday to Portugal, it might be a nice preparation. We have some nice special offers on our site.

You can subscribe to this blog:

You’ll get it every weekend in your mailbox.

On Sunday morning we publish it on our Facebook, on Pinterest, and on monday on LinkedIn.

Portuguese nature, part 2: Deforestation?

If you walk around in all that noise, it seems as if all the trees of Portugal have been brought here. Huge piles of large logs that are ready for processing, trucks full of wood, hard-working people and impressive machines. Everything is ready for the deforestation of the land.

Portugal and deforestation – what about that?

The entire country is full of forests, full of trees. It is only a certain species. The kind that is Useful. The kind that gives ROI (return on investment). So, eucalyptus. And pine trees. And in the south cork oaks, the name indicates its return already. From the first, paper is made, the second gives us pallets, scaffolding wood and furniture.

For the latter you have to wait a while. From deforestation to usable wood – that takes a while

Portuguese-nature-part-2-Deforestation

If we need wood, we go to the serração in Soure. A lot of those fully loaded trucks arrive there. In an incredible noise and with incredibly large machines, people turn it into shelves and pallets. And floorboards. They have a slot on one side, and a narrower piece on the other side that exactly falls into that slot. They call it “macho-femea” – I would like to leave this to your own imagination. I still find it a little embarrassing, although every builder knows the term. (Am I a prude?)

It is very handy to have such a pile of wood. Then it can dry

I now call it forest but in fact they are plantations. The eucalyptus remains for 9 years, and then goes to the paper mill. Pine trees grow a lot slower but still fast enough to be economically interesting. Thick planks and thin pallets are made of this.

And then we turn it into a beautiful dream kitchen cabinet! For instance.

We don’t really have a small kitchen. You can even say that we have a large kitchen, and yet while I’m cooking I sometimes whine about the space.

blog_portuguese-nature-part-2-deforestation

That actually only happens if there are more people for dinner. Then you want to put your salad bowl somewhere (ready), your dressings (it only gets better with an hour), your dessert (that still needs to settle in) and you want the space to marinate your pork chops or soy or knead your dough a little comfortably.

And there the trouble starts with the lack of space, large kitchen or not

I have had an idea for a while about a beauty of a cupboard. It must cover an entire wall, with compartments large enough to accommodate everything from blenders, juicers, Römer topfs, kitchen towels – you name it. And then all those trays with little dessert bowls, salade bowls, dough that needs to rest, baking trays, all those things that are ready and in your way – also.

That’s why I walked around in the noise of the serração, because it starts there

blog_portuguese-nature-part-2-deforestationHopefully, because for the time being it’s no more than a wish, an idea and a pile of wood. Probably 3 pine trees died for that pile. I am very sorry, dear trees, we are going to do our best to make a Very Nice Kitchen Cabinet!

I’ll keep you posted!

.

<< previous

We moved here in 2000 from Rotterdam, Holland to the Termas-da-Azenha, Portugal. A big step, especially with two small children. We are busy to rebuild one of portugals cultural heirlooms: Termas-da-Azenha, an old spa which has been turned into several holiday homes, rooms and campsites, with a https://www.termas-da-azenha.com/en/recreation/: swimming pool, indoor and outdoor games like pingpong, petanque, a FancyDressingRoom and a small café. You’ll find mosaics and paintings everywhere.

The old bathhouse is going to be a museum, where you can see how things have changed. Since 2018 we call ourselves the first B&B&B in the world – Bed & Breakfast & Bathrobes. You can buy a home-made unique bathrobe/housecoat with us.

Each week a little blog about what is happening around us. An easy read. A few minutes in another world. A little about what it going on in Portugal. If you plan your holiday to Portugal, it might be a nice preparation. We have some nice special offers on our site.

You can subscribe to this blog:

You’ll get it every weekend in your mailbox.

On Sunday morning we publish it on our Facebook, on Pinterest, and on monday on LinkedIn.

Surprise! Pet chicken fall from the sky

All of a sudden I sit here as an informal caregiver for a pirate chicken on one leg!

Strange things sometimes happen in Termas-da-Azenha. My son Broes and I walked to “the little houses” (next to the ElephantHouse is a refurbishment that serves as storage for anything and everything) to get something, when unexpectedly we saw a chicken lay in the grass.

blog_surprise-pet-chicken-fall-from-the-sky

A real live chicken. With a panickey look in her eyes and her feathers all messed up

Aah! Hello you poor dear! How did you get here? Who? What? How? And especially: why?

I have a vague idea. It must have something to do with a dog. I thought I just saw the shadow of a tail disappear around the corner. Not really paying attention of course, because not prepared to find a chicken at my feet. Anyway, something had to happen here, because you don’t just step over the animal and go on to do your thingy.

Moreover, we had already forgotten the thingy we were going to do, so I carefully picked her up.

You don’t have to be afraid of a chicken, because they don’t bite. That’s for sure

Always loved chickens. They are so cozy. If they’re clucking softly among themselves; or if they loudly singing out their joy over a (finally!) laid egg; if they take a sand bath or if they run away for a rooster with obvious intentions – they’re cute and give you the idea that life is good.

Just. Good. No more. But back to the reality: there’s a chicken in my arms!

Fortunately we still have enough straw. And we still have a cot that, conversely, can serve as a henhouse. It looks like she hasn’t been damaged very badly. I bought chicken food at the grocery store in Vinha da Rainha, and asked on the way at the cafe and at the pastelaria if someone had accidentally lost a chicken.

No one. So far, no one has reported him- or herself as the rightful owner, so Chickie Carolina has been in her cot for a week. She has recovered well, but her right leg doesn’t want to do what it has to. I carefully checked, but there’s no broken bones or something else obviously wrong. We do physiotherapy together every day, when I have breakfast on the terrace behind the kitchen.

Chickie Carolina is studying for flamingo

blog_surprise-pet-chicken-fall-from-the-sky-

I try to talk cackle with her, but she’s the silent type. And I suspect that my cackling is not very good, because I regularly see her frowning when I try to say something. Yes, chickens can frown! Their eyes may be turned upside down in their heads (look carefully, they close their lower eyelids; the upper ones stay in place), but they can express all kinds of emotions.

If you now feel inspired and want a few chickens, here are a few things that are useful to know:

  • chickens are not so fond of being petted;
  • learning to cackle is not that easy;
  • chickens drink very little but kill for a leaf of lettuce;
  • they’re not vegetarians;
  • your dog will most likely not become close friends with your chicken(s);
  • when they feel threatened, they dive to the ground, spread their wings a bit and make themselves bigger and fluffy. Very moving.

I say: every depressed person a few chickens, and Big Pharma’s lost an important branch of its business in one fell swoop. It is impossible to stay depressed if there are a few chickens nearby. (Roosters aren’t necessary, by the way, so you can avoid that annoying cock-a-doodle-doo.)

I’m going to do physio again with my chickie. See y’all next week!

blog_surprise-pet-chicken-fall-from-the-sky

.

<< previous

We moved here in 2000 from Rotterdam, Holland to the Termas-da-Azenha, Portugal. A big step, especially with two small children. We are busy to rebuild one of portugals cultural heirlooms: Termas-da-Azenha, an old spa which has been turned into several holiday homes, rooms and campsites, with a https://www.termas-da-azenha.com/en/recreation/: swimming pool, indoor and outdoor games like pingpong, petanque, a FancyDressingRoom and a small café. You’ll find mosaics and paintings everywhere.

The old bathhouse is going to be a museum, where you can see how things have changed. Since 2018 we call ourselves the first B&B&B in the world – Bed & Breakfast & Bathrobes. You can buy a home-made unique bathrobe/housecoat with us.

Each week a little blog about what is happening around us. An easy read. A few minutes in another world. A little about what it going on in Portugal. If you plan your holiday to Portugal, it might be a nice preparation. We have some nice special offers on our site.

You can subscribe to this blog:

You’ll get it every weekend in your mailbox.

On Sunday morning we publish it on our Facebook, on Pinterest, and on monday on LinkedIn.

Life after the computercrash

I am sitting here rejoicing behind my “new” PC.

All computers were broken! Well, not all, but first the laptop, then the desktop. Man, that was a nice surprise, but-not-really. The laptop refused to do anything anymore start of the evening.

My work computer started ticking a little later.

Never a good sign, if something starts ticking, certainly not for computers. Crisis?

And after ticking for an hour, he quit quietly. Just like that. Without warning or nothing. Passed away. Dead. Nothing more to do.

You’re surprised by that, can you imagine?

What does a person do in such a case?

This person immediately calls for help from behind the “Iron Curtain”. In the reception hangs a curtain, where the work computer is stationed (and me as well). Behind the “Iron Curtain” has always been the domain of “the boys”. My two boys, plus friends. There were about 5 boys sitting at a long table for years, and the reason for that curtain seems very clear, especially for people who also have children: it was a pigsty.

blog_surviving-a-computercrash

Sorry, ugly word, but very appropriate

It is now slightly better. There are now only 2, sometimes 3 boys (and well, they’re not boys anymore, they’re in their mid-twenties). That makes a difference.

Anyway, if there’s something with my computers that I can’t solve myself, I call in help from behind the Iron Curtain. Son Broes emerged sighing, muttering incomprehensible things about morons of mothers who don’t know anything about … but soon had to admit that there was Force Majeure here.

The computer was really and completely dead. The computer crash was a fact

My work computer was assembled by Hugo, who’s been living here for years. One of the 5 boys. Hugo has been messing around for as long as we know him with mopeds, cars, computers, and all kinds of electrical appliances. If something crashes, his name quickly comes up.

blog_surviving-a-computercrash

Very handy to have him around, especially in connection with a computer crisis!

The diagnosis was quickly made. We have a somewhat unstable electricity network here, mostly above ground, and that causes peaks and troughs. The failure is taken care of by my UPS because computers don’t like to be turned off without the proper procedures. It deals with most failures.

But the contrary – overload – is much more difficult to handle. It sometimes happens that lightning strikes the network. We don’t often have a thunderstorm here, but when that happens, it can happen that it hits. You can’t do much to prevend that.

Well, long story short: that was it. And dust. And wear (he was already 4 years old – that’s about 136 in computer years)

The bad thing is that I last backed up in June. So from this summer everything is gone. “We can do something about it,” Hugo said cheerfully, “I can put two SSDs in it, then it automatically backs up. And the laptop gets a new hard disk.” That made me a little more cheerful, because such a shame that all the photos from the summer are gone!

The SSDs plus hard disk were ordered from PCDiga. Guaranteed delivery after 24 hours. Top!blog_surviving-a-computercrash

Small recoil: the SSDs were mounted, but then the powersupply also failed. Hm. Same tune: order, wait hopefully. Then, when the whole thing could run again, the fan was labeled as (s)crap, better to put a new one. “Otherwise it will catch fire within half an hour.”

I don’t know what they thought at PCDiga …

Anyway, ends well, all’s well. I’m rejoicing. Laptop works again, desktop works again, and The-One-Beside-Me also got a new fan, because it started ticking – to make it all more exciting – too. Exactly at the time that it was the only working computer (at least, one that falls under my authority, because I may not even get in the neighbourhood of the boys’ computers).

I’m happy. Just. That. What does a person do without a computer nowadays?

.

<< previous

We moved here in 2000 from Rotterdam, Holland to the Termas-da-Azenha, Portugal. A big step, especially with two small children. We are busy to rebuild one of portugals cultural heirlooms: Termas-da-Azenha, an old spa which has been turned into several holiday homes, rooms and campsites, with a https://www.termas-da-azenha.com/en/recreation/: swimming pool, indoor and outdoor games like pingpong, petanque, a FancyDressingRoom and a small café. You’ll find mosaics and paintings everywhere.

The old bathhouse is going to be a museum, where you can see how things have changed. Since 2018 we call ourselves the first B&B&B in the world – Bed & Breakfast & Bathrobes. You can buy a home-made unique bathrobe/housecoat with us.

Each week a little blog about what is happening around us. An easy read. A few minutes in another world. A little about what it going on in Portugal. If you plan your holiday to Portugal, it might be a nice preparation. We have some nice special offers on our site.

You can subscribe to this blog:

You’ll get it every weekend in your mailbox.

On Sunday morning we publish it on our Facebook, on Pinterest, and on monday on LinkedIn.

« Older Entries